SO….I have some things to confess. I spent last week in a full blown episode of (hypo?) mania & didn’t even realize it until last night when I was laying in bed crying my eyes out, wondering why the heck I was feeling so low. I had felt so great earlier yesterday morning…but by midday the grey cloud of depression was hovering over my head, raining on my little euphoric parade….
Ahhhh euphoria. (Sigh) You know…I didn’t even realize how high I had been until I had already crash landed back on Earth-or rather my couch…immobilized. Stuck. Heavy. Sleepy. Edgy. Here’s the thing I’ve learned out being in a state of euphoria after this recent episode: it blinds you to the warning signs, the signals, the indicators that are flashing bright red, hoping you’ll notice their warnings. And even if you’re able to see the warnings, euphoria hits the mute button on the sounds of the sirens…they go from shrill to dull. Your inclination to care, your motivation to heed the signals loses it’s edge, and before you know it you’re rationalizing it away, allowing yourself to believe the lie that it’s not happening-you’re ok, it’s no big deal, you’re fine, you’re just a little excited & happy & that’s ok-you deserve to be happy for once don’t you? Don’t you?!
I should have paid attention. I should have fought harder to hold on to the edge I’ve gained the past 4-5 weeks. But I didn’t. Instead I allowed myself to take a break from fighting…..
It started the week I was sick with the Plague. That’s when I stopped fighting, mostly because I felt like pure hell & needed to get better. Problem is, I got better physically, but I started slipping in other areas. School took a hit-I missed some assignments & barely caught up. I started feeling anti-social & withdrew from people. My ex and I had an argument that led to him saying some things that crossed the line and hurt me deeply. He apologized the next day, but the damage was done-I spent last weekend struggling to cope-emotionally eating, drinking too much Moscato, & just trying to numb the hurt. Then last Monday when I got my refund from school, my excitement over being able to pay bills I was backed up on & buy some necessities for my apartment tipped me over the edge & into full blown euphoria.
Having money…getting paid…being able to pay bills, buy groceries, not having to worry about finances for a few weeks…it gives me a high I don’t really get from other things. Now I will say this: I’m pretty responsible with money in the respect that I pay my bills, especially the ones that are necessary to live-rent, daycare, groceries, etc-but I’m very irresponsible with what I have left over. I can’t save. And unlike other people, I don’t spend it on Gucci bags, expensive electronics, clothes for myself….I spend it on little things that add up to big amounts. Instead of spending $15o at the grocery store, I’ll spend $300. Seeing my cabinets & fridge full, knowing that we have food to eat gives me a high. A simple furniture purchase might be a necessity, but the exhilaration I feel is more than the normal person would feel. I don’t spend just to spend most of the time. Getting my nails done to feel better, buying the boys clothes they may need, going out to eat or buying something for my apartment….those are the things that make my spending habits a problem. Going to Wal-mart or Target can be a major problem when I’m in a state of euphoria. The compulsion to buy even necessities becomes too strong, my resistance to impulses is weakened…telling myself, “I don’t need this,” or “I can get this later,” is something I’ve only recently been able to start doing. When I don’t have money to spend, I’m fine. But when I have it, and my basic bills are paid? Forget it. My mind races with ways it can be spend-literally. Saving? (sigh) It’s a skill I used to be somewhat good at & now I just flat out suck.
So like I said, last week, having that money….I paid what I needed to, I followed my “how to spend my refund check” list to the tee. But once it was all over, I found myself wanting to keep feeding the high because it felt so good, I felt so good, I felt capable, not unworthy or unwanted like the argument with my ex & stress had me feeling. The euphoria had me feeling fantastic, but underneath it was the ugly undercurrent of emotions that were pushing me further & further away from the progress I had worked so hard to gain. I skipped my meds a few days this week. Big mistake. Stupid mistake. I kept telling myself I’d take them & then I’d get so caught up in the boys, in midterm semester assignments, in catching up, in the euphoric bliss & forget.
I messed up. I fell off the wagon last week. And my crash back to reality began Saturday night. I passed out on my couch unexpectedly after getting my hair done. Sunday morning I still felt good, but the cloud was back…by midday it was hovering over me, darkening my mood & by evening I had fallen back into the gravity well of a depressive mood. I cycled this past week. I cycled & didn’t pay attention until it was too late to care or resist.
Here’s the other thing I’ve learned about euphoria, cycling, & just living with this crazy beast: It’s VITALLY important you have at least one person on the outside who can tell you (in love) what they see happening, what they see you doing. Someone who cares about you, but who is objective & can tell you the truth when you need it. For me, that person this past week was my ex. When I called him crying last night & feeling like crap, he confirmed for me what I had already started to realize: “Addy I’ve been so worried about you this week, because you’ve just seemed so high…and talkative….and….and a little manic…and then yesterday I could hear in your voice you were starting to dip…what happened? What are you feeling? What’s wrong? Let’s talk about it. I”m sorry…I think our fight helped trigger it, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling-talk to me. Have you been taking your meds? Have you been drinking too much?”
(Sigh) That’s the kind of person you need in your life, and I’m glad I have him. We may not be together, we may fight, we may not see eye to eye, but I know that he cares about me and he wants me to be ok, because he can be that person for me when I really need it. I’m also grateful for my neighbor who saw that I was upset late last night & stayed up talking to me, trying to help me smile & laugh. I need more people like that in my life.
I fell off the wagon. Today I’m trying to get back on. It’s not easy. But I made a commitment to improving my mental health and despite this step back, I’m determined to regain the ground I lost. That’s how recovery is sometimes: you take 2 steps forward & take one back. It sucks, but the point is to keep going in spite of the set backs. That’s what I’m trying to do today.
I’m not perfect. I try but I fail sometimes ya’ll. I have to do better, but I can admit when I don’t. Writing this, and admitting these things were hard for me today…but I’ve gotta face the music.
So I’m off to go to the park & run. Gotta get back up & continue to streak my way back to the box. Here’s to making it.